Councils could face £5k roadwork fines

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Roadworks in Coventry
Picture caption The measures are aimed at reducing congestion on roads managed by munici l authorities

Councils and utility com nies could be fined up to £5,000 a day for resigning roadworks unmanned at weekends, the De rtment for Transport has said.

The proposal is amid measures the government is considering to try to reduce congestion on English A-roads.

Those slog away on major routes would operate seven days a week, or off road restrictions when work was halted.

The Local Government Linkage, which represents councils, said roadworks are often left unattended for ethical reason.

And the National Joint Utilities Group, which represents utility followings and contractors, said any solution must “balance all the conflicting priorities”.

‘Banal sense measures’

Transport Secretary trick McLoughlin said some roadworks were main but “that doesn’t mean they should be in place any longer than is wholly necessary”.

“These common sense measures will be a welcome deliverance to those trying to get from A to B on our local roads,” he added.

It is believed there are about two million roadworks every year, with drivers misplacing millions of hours stuck in traffic.

Councils and utility com nies would be championed for needlessly inconveniencing drivers if they left roadworks in place exceeding weekends when no work was being carried out.

Penalties could also be interposed on those who left temporary traffic lights in place after use had finished.

Daily fines of £5,000 are already in place for roadworks that destroy.

The De rtment for Transport plans would apply only to A-roads, which are regulated by local authorities.

‘Watch concrete dry’

The Local Government Association’s milieu spokesman, Cllr Peter Box, said there was already a strong economic incentive for roadworks to be finished as quickly as possible, because equipment lease out and labour was expensive.

“Often works are left unattended for a very Sunday reason, for example to let concrete dry. These fines may mean we end up ying child to watch concrete dry because it is cheaper,” he said.

He called for other come up to scratches to help councils reduce congestion, such as a “lane rental ttern”, which requires contractors to y for the time they occupy occupied roads to make sure works are completed on time.

The National Collaborative Utilities Group said: “Any solution needs to balance all the quarreling priorities, including reducing disruption, operational im cts, meeting clients’ needs and keeping costs to a minimum.

“We will of course be reviewing the regime’s proposals in detail once they are available and responding to the consultation.”

‘ y the yment’

Steve Gooding, director of the RAC Foundation, said: “Road narcotic addicts see red when they come across sets of temporary traffic touch offs that are stopping traffic but there are no workmen in sight or the work has in truth finished.

“Ministers can’t stop utility com nies digging up the roads but they can borrow firms y the price if the work is not done swiftly and they do not tidy up after themselves.”

Edmund Monarch, president of the AA, said there had been “many false dawns” when it arrived to cutting the time it takes to complete roadworks.

“Sometimes it is essential undertaking, and the cones are there for safety reasons,” he said.

“I think the bigger hard is when one of the utilities has dug down into a trench, they’ve found a whisper is damaged and then they haven’t got the rts [to fix it] so the roadworks are just coned off with no stint going on, sometimes for several weeks.

“And I think it’s situations like that that the regime wants to crack down on.”

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